A Call to Residents of Sandoval County

Laura Robbins

SANDOVAL COUNTY OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE CITIZENS’ STUDY GROUP

This is a reminder about action to be taken by the Sandoval County Commission. The Commission is about to vote on an extremely permissive Oil and Gas Ordinance that could radically affect the quality of our lives as well as property values in a large part of Sandoval County.

Here’s how the Commission plans to make it easy for oil and gas companies to drill near your home or ranch or farm:

  • NO public notice
  • NO public hearing

Your wakeup call will occur when the company starts drilling next to your home.

Sounds unbelievable?

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Science Deniers and Creationists Propose New Science Curriculum for New Mexico Schools

By R.W.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is proposing new science teaching standards that question climate change, deny evolution and promote the oil and gas industry. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and the state’s Education Secretary -designee Christopher Ruszkowski have followed the Trump administration’s lead and “politically sanitized”, as they will have it, the vocabulary and content of science teaching standards.

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A Friendly Robot Offers to Help Sue Equifax  

By R.W.

An estimated 143 million Americans, half of the U.S. population (this could be you and me), have had their names, addresses, social security numbers, some credit card numbers, driver license numbers and credit reports stolen in one of the biggest ever breaches of consumer data. This data breach threatens its victims with identity theft, giving away every single detail that someone could possibly need to steal  another person’s identity.

The case involves a company called Equifax, a credit reporting agency. There’s a very high chance that if you’ve ever had any sort of loan, credit card, or interaction with a collection agency, that you have dealt with them. The company waited six weeks to tell the world about the hack, that gave hackers a six-week jump on all of us.

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Changing Odds in the New Normal

By R.W.

You would think that 500 year floods should not happen much more often than every 500 years, give or take a few decades, perhaps. Once you start getting 500 year floods every year, it might be time to rename them “only-to-be-expected-every-year-floods”.

By its definition a “500 year flood” is not a flood that might happen every 500 years, but is a flood that has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. Still, what with Houston having just experienced a 500 year flood 2015, 2016 and now this year, it might make sense to reconfigure some of those odds, since (I am told) that the chances of a 1-in-500 event occurring three straight times are one in 125 million.

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Tax Reform = Tax Breaks for the Super Rich

By  Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

 

 

 

Average New Mexicans would not benefit much from President Trump’s tax reform proposal, which would give the biggest tax breaks to New Mexico’s millionaires. That’s according to a report released recently by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

“We should be very clear: what the President and Republican leaders in Congress are proposing is not tax reform,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which works with ITEP on fiscal policies. “Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are pushing massive tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. These tax cuts will be paid for by cuts to Social Security, health care, education, and other programs that benefit working families and the whole nation.” 

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As Hurricane Harvey Approaches

By R.W.

Our thoughts should now be with the folks in Texas and the horror that they are facing. We should also note  that while these untold numbers flee for their lives, abandoning their homes and facing an uncertain future some others see this as an opportunity to sneak in a few measures that  might pass unnoticed in the turmoil.

During when most people are encouraged to flee, undocumented Texans are faced with a choice of getting detained and likely deported at manned checkpoints, or staying behind and possibly dying in the storm. Unlike in previous hurricanes on the coast, Border Patrol officials announced late Thursday they were not planning to close roadside immigration checkpoints north of the affected area as fleeing people made their way out of several coastal counties.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants  will be making a choice between possible death and possible deportation.

Also, just as the storm began brushing against the coast, President Trump suddenly turned his attention elsewhere, pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and signed an order barring transgender people from joining the military.

There will be other things to focus on in the coming days and weeks as the horror and suffering for the residents of the Texas coast unfolds, but the consequences of these, and who knows, perhaps other decisions made under cover of Hurricane Harvey, will stay with us for some time to come.

The Planned Destruction of the Nation’s Past, Present and Future

By R.W.

Photo by Laurascudder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10621997

Monarch Cave Ruin cliff dwelling on Comb Ridge

Fossil-fuel corporate polluters, represented by  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, are reaching their soiled, grasping mitts on vast areas of natural wonder that define this country, this continent, areas that hold  deep historic and cultural meaning as well as enduring habitats, endangered monuments to this country’s earliest human habitation , and also monuments to its natural diversity, linking our past and present, and linking a wide variety of biospheres.

President Donald Trump described the removal of secessionist war leaders statues as destroying  the nation’s history and culture. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he said.

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New Mexico Makes Massive New Education Spending Cuts

Brian Urban, Operations Manager

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

The resulting tuition increases will make college less affordable for low-income students

New Mexico’s state funding for higher education is 33 percent less now than it was before the recession, when looking at inflation-adjusted state spending per student. Looking at the dollar investment, the state is spending $4,509 less in 2017 than it did in 2008 on a per student, inflation-adjusted basis. Only Louisiana has made deeper cuts over that time period.

These are among the findings of a report released this week by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). As a result of these funding cuts, tuition at the nation’s public four-year colleges and universities has increased on average 35 percent since 2008 on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis. New Mexico has seen the same 35 percent tuition increase over that time period.

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They’re Out to Kill and Maim Us All

By R.W.

Are these the bizarre ramblings of unhinged conspiracy theorists: the majority of U.S. politicians is in a pact with criminal organizations to kill and disable untold numbers of Americans?

Not at all. Of course this is true.

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Your Voices Matter

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

UNITED STATES SENATE

Martin Heinrich

Ensuring a free and open internet is essential for New Mexico businesses and internet users to access broadband on an even playing field. As a staunch supporter of net neutrality, I believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must have strong, enforceable rules. The internet must remain open and conducive to free expression, innovation, and competition, not a tiered system based on financial relationships with internet service providers.

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Peggy Fire Versus Flash Flood

By R.W.

It’s all happening out there if you believe weather forecasts and forest fire updates. What’s there to not believe as we sniff little wafts of smoke in our bedrooms and strain to hear rain pattering on our roofs.

It is quite clear though, that this is a cruel world where some get soaked time and time again, while others stay gasping in the dust. These monsoon-like events are so unevenly distributed where some of us sadly return home with vehicles still dripping from the shower we struggled through with our wipers maxing out on fast to be greeted by a dust devil in the driveway.Continue reading

“America First” Threatens First Americans

By R.W.

The Trump administration appears to be taking a different track from Obama’s attitudes toward Native American nations and tribes, their land and their sovereignty. President Obama’s policies toward acquiring and consolidating land for them contrast with the present administration’s  push toward increased energy development and tribal land privatization.

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Neurotoxic Pesticide Returns to our Grocery Shelves

By U.S. Senator Tom Udall

UNITED STATES SENATE

In March, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt contradicted the findings of his own agency’s scientists and reversed the EPA’s proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide used on fruits and vegetables derived from a class of World War II nerve agents that has been shown to impair brain development in children. Latino farmworkers who live in rural communities are at the highest risk, but the pesticide has been detected in drinking water and on picked fruits and vegetables sold in stores. Even oranges that have been washed and peeled have been shown to contain chlorpyrifos. We must act to protect the health of children, farmers and farmworkers. Join me in speaking out, and stay tuned for more information in coming days.

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(Fake) Drama Above and Below and (Illegal Leaks of) Fire and Water

Photos R.W.

Update SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Peggy Fire as seen from a mesa in Red Rocks.

Do not believe what you hear or what you see. You might have read on these pages chilling warnings against life threatening  walls of storm water rushing down arroyos and calm reassurances about low intensity puffs of smoke lingering through the morning. Well…

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Playing Cynical Games with the Lives and Health of the American People

By R.W.

Surprise!

Having failed to get acceptance for his proposed health care act President Trump has now offered his latest solution: do nothing, sabotage the system by allowing it to completely collapse, hope the worst will happen and then see how everyone feels; see if they still show willing to resist his proposals.

“As I have always said,” tweeted Trump, though he had never actually said so before, “let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

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Jemez Springs Burglaries Surge

By R.W.

If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be comic, or at least so bizarre as to be improbable.

A horrible report on Jemez Springs appeared in today’s KRQE web page and TV news detailing a surge of burglaries and the circumstances surrounding them. The lovely peaceful village, hidden away from the crime-ridden centers of crime-ridden New Mexico is being publicized in the state as a center of a crime wave. Bizarre can be comic, but here it is tragic. Local residents have been stricken with repeated break-ins, often loosing not just valuables, but deeply treasured and irreplaceable family possessions.

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232 Percent Increase in Native Uninsurance Would Devastate New Mexico’s Tribal Communities

By Sharon Kayne

Communications Director, NM VOICES FOR CHILDREN

By slashing Medicaid and making marketplace coverage unaffordable, the U.S. Senate Republican health bill would have devastating consequences for New Mexico’s Native Americans. The uninsured rate among Native Americans in New Mexico would jump an estimated 232 percent under the bill, according to a new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.“The Senate Republican health bill would be devastating to Native American people living in New Mexico,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Our tribal communities are the cultural backbone of our state and have proven their resiliency despite centuries of challenges. These communities already face significant barriers to getting health care, despite centuries-old treaties and promises. A bill that makes things worse is unacceptable.”

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Battle to Save the Internet and Stop Censorship and Corruption

By R.W.

Courtesy image.

Large telecommunication corporations are trying to grab the internet to promote their commercial and political ends, and roll back net neutrality. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, among others, are moving to make extra charges for what we access online and to have more control over what we see and do.  Free Press, an Open Internet advocacy group notes that recent moves by the Trump administration have aimed to abolish the 2015 FCC decision to regulate internet providers as utilities and to scale back regulations.

These regulations call for the telecommunications companies that provide online access to treat all internet traffic equally and not slow or block some sites. Eliminating them would allow the telecommunications giants to dominate the Internet for financial gain while limiting the freedom and privacy of consumers.

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 Record Shattering News for New Mexico

By R.W.

Governor Susana Martinez announces record-shattering tourism numbers at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque on Wednesday.

It’s hard to believe good news about any aspect of the New Mexico economy, and yet…!

Governor Martinez announced last Wednesday that 34.4 million trips were made to New Mexico in 2016, nearly a million more than the previous year, breaking another tourism record for the state. According to the governor’s office, overall trips to New Mexico have grown 15.4 percent since 2010.

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An Ugly Scowl Spreads Across the Face of Babyface

By R.W.

Anyone familiar with professional wrestling is aware of the two main and repeating  personas of the contestants, the heel, the negative character and the  good guy, the babyface.

The three main currents leading through Trump’s career before his ascent into political office were “reality” TV where he fired people, real estate speculation where he made some deals that we don’t like to talk about now, and conspicuously, for more than a couple of decades, professional wrestling. Not a common resume for the leader of any nation, but his rise to prominence and fame through these spheres showed an unusual talent for showmanship, displaying machismo and a preference for a confrontational and abusive style, switching from babyface to heel as the need arose.

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Udall Calls TrumpCare ‘Catastrophic’ for Indian Country

By U.S. Senator Tom Udall

Curtesy photo.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement on the devastating effects of the Senate TrumpCare bill on Native Americans’ access to life-saving health care services:

“Native Americans would be among those hardest hit by this disastrous Senate TrumpCare bill. As vice chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I’ve heard from many Tribes who are deeply concerned about the lack of Tribal consultation in TrumpCare – and about how devastating this bill would be for access to life-saving health care services in Indian Country.

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13 White Male Republicans Make an Offer

By R.W.


The government has just announced a scheme to make cuts to health programs for the poor and middle classes, and give huge tax reductions for the wealthy. It proposes to dramatically cut and restructure Medicaid and eventually lead to another 23 million Americans to lose any health insurance whatsoever. This will allow to finance a broad tax cut for the rich with billions of dollars pulled from Medicaid.

The biggest tax cut is to individuals earning more than $200,000 a year or to married couples with combined incomes of more than $250,000 and applies mostly to the taxation of investment income. This tax is repealed retroactively, to return to rich families tax money they paid over the last year.

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A Club of One

By R.W.

Donald Trump and Bashar al-Assad; this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The U.S. looks to join an exclusive club of climate change denial countries that have refused to sign the  Paris Agreement, the historic climate deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It has been widely reported that this includes Syria and Nicaragua, but that is misleading and suggests that there is an agreement among the three countries supporting Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax, as he put it, and that the 195 remaining countries are parties in a dispute with the three over the issue, with very strong views on both sides.

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Food Tax Dead Again – For Now

By Fred, Kristina, Othiamba, and Jennifer

THINK NEW MEXICO

Good news: despite a lot of talk about bringing back the food tax during the special session, when the 430-page tax reform bill was introduced on Wednesday afternoon, it did not include the food taxIt did, however, include a new tax on prescription medicines, which we also oppose. The bill was ultimately killed in its first committee.

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Trump Fatigue

By R.W.

It is nice that he has gone on a trip, nice for us, and nice for him perhaps. Still, it’s too bad that he hasn’t quite gone away, not just for a moment even, just to give us time to blink very fast a few times, just to take a few deep breaths. Instead, he seems to loom larger than before, undiminished by what perspective normally does for people who are at a great distance.

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An Open Letter to Everyone Who Uses the Internet

By U.S. Senator Martin Henirich

The free and open internet as we know it is at risk.

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to initiate a process to repeal the strong net neutrality rules that have been in place since 2015.

These rules protect the internet as an open, decentralized, and level playing field, free from content discrimination. They ensure that you – not your internet service provider (usually your cable or phone company) – control what you can access online.

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The Terrifying Truth

By R.W.

 

No, Trump is not Hitler or Stalin, he is not even Nixon. The terrifying truth is that with Donald Trump as President of the United States of America we have entered into as yet uncharted waters, where his closest allies in the Republican party appear to be blinking in disbelief and mumbling terse statements.

“We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount” – said (mumbled?) a spokesperson for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Congress could do with “a little less drama” from the White House,” said (mumbled?) Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader. Republican senator Bob Corker, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee was more clear: “The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order,” he said. “It’s got to happen.”

Trump is facing the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president of the United States.

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Let Them Eat…Salt

By R.W.

Courtesy photo.

Sonny Perdue at lunch.

 

One in four children in New Mexico is at risk of hunger, according to a report put out by the Map the Meal Gap 2017, making our state the second worst in the nation. Sandoval County is not listed among the most affected counties in the state, but most people living in the Jemez must be aware of areas of extreme poverty up and down the valley. This is reflected by the number of students at the local schools who qualify for free/reduced breakfasts and lunches: 86 percent.

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